Benzema desperate for Deschamps to explain France exile

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Amid his continuing absence from Les Bleus, the striker remains both defiant but also eager for a rapprochement with his coach

Karim Benzema is still waiting for an explanation from Didier Deschamps over his France exile and wants to clear the air with the coach after claiming the decision to exclude him from Euro 2016 was motivated by racism.

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Benzema has not been selected for national team duty since being charged by police in connection with an alleged blackmail attempt targeting his international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena, a case which is yet to go to trial.

The Real Madrid striker missed last year's European Championship on home soil as a consequence, stating on the eve of the competition that Deschamps had "bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France" in omitting him.

French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet in February announced the head coach is free to recall the former Lyon forward, but Benzema — who continues to deny any wrongdoing — was not picked for this month's international fixtures. 

"It's been a year and a half since I'm no longer in the France team, I feel it badly because I love football," Benzema told RMC.

"Even if there are some who claim that I do not like the France team, I would have told the coach [if it were true]."

"I find it unfair because I was not told anything about it," he said of his exclusion.

"But I'll keep in mind that if they do not select me, it's for football [reasons]. If we speak away from sport, the [incident] I had with Valbuena, for now, I am innocent."

Benzema has revealed that when Deschamps broke the news he was being axed from selection contention, he hung up on the 1998 World Cup-winning captain.

"The last time I had the coach on the phone, it was well before the Euro, before the semi-final or the final of the Champions League," he said.

"He told me he would not pick me. Since that day, there has been no contact. He said, 'Karim, I'm going to tell you something that will not please you, I am not selecting you'.

"I did not need any other explanation at that time so I cut the phone. But today with hindsight, I would like him to explain. This question, I ask myself every day.

"I think that this case has taken too big a step, everyone has interfered. It was too much. I would like to have explanations between men. 

"I will not let go. If some people think I'm going to let go, they're wrong. It's football, you play for your supporters, for your family, for your country, to win."

Benzema has also defended his controversial remarks regarding the motive behind his exclusion from the squad, insisting he did not intend to level an accusation against the coach or the FFF president.

"I cannot regret those words, it's true," he said.

"This is obvious. The coach may have misunderstood, but in no case did I say he was racist. Neither him nor Le Graet. I never thought of it.

"This is a messy story. If he regrets that, then we call him and he can ask himself, 'Karim, what did those words mean?'

"I know very well that there will always be controversies. The problem is that it hurts me, because they are people I appreciate. We must reach an understanding."

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